Estimating Signage Costs: Calculating Outdoor Durability

Estimating Signage Costs: Calculating Outdoor Durability

In today’s post, the Signworld team explains how to estimate and increase the outdoor durability of your outdoor signage.

Increase The Lifespan Of Your Signage By Choosing The Right Vinyl

The outdoor lifespan of vinyl is as varied as the different options available to you, so it’s important to know what’s what. Knowing quality-but-costly from quick-and-cheap will help you maximize your advertising budget for different promotional purposes.

Calendared PVC is an excellent option for budget-conscious buyers looking for short and medium-term signage solutions. Signs made with this vinyl option can last between 3 to 6 years depending on your unique weather exposure and color choice. Some pigments are more vulnerable to the fading effects of UV rays, so if you intend to mount your sign somewhere the sun shines, steer clear of metallic colors with high metal flake content. Standard black, white, and transparent options score highest for durability.

Cast PVC is a high-performance option for those looking to spend a little more. The casting process offers a much higher degree of dimensional stability, which can give your sign a lifespan of 5 to 12 years. To ensure your sign stays on the longer end of that spectrum, opt again for non-metallic colors.

Metalized polyester or mylar is a better option for those looking to recreate a metallic or holographic effects without taking on the lifespan-shortening qualities of high metal flake content. These films use a layer of metallic foil in place of actual metal flakes and will last from 3 to 5 years.

Finally, fluorescent vinyl can work for some short-term signage needs. While particularly vulnerable to UV fading, these signs can last from 2 to 3 years given the right care and conditions. Still, they are best treated as disposable options for liquidation sales or once-in-a-lifetime promotions.

Understanding The Outdoor Durability Of Your Vinyl Sign Ink

Like most industries, the sign world is in the midst of a digital transition, and while making the switch from using vinyl primarily in plotters to using it as a digital printing medium, some sign business owners have conflated the lifespans of their ink and vinyl.

For example, let’s say a printed vinyl graphic ink is rated for 8 years of outdoor use. This does not mean that the image will resist fading for 8 years; it means that the vinyl will not shrink, crack, or peel. In fact, the lifespan of most solvent ink is rated only around 3 to 5 years for outdoor use.

If you want to make the most of your outdoor signage, you need to know exactly how long your ink will last you. Sign producers and clients alike must realize that ink won’t last as long as high-performance vinyl mediums, and plan accordingly. Looking back to our initial point, it may be worthwhile saving money on a medium that is rated for 3 to 5 years, rather than spending your budget on a canvas when the “art” itself will fade away years earlier.

Factor In Local Weather Conditions

Your hometown’s climate and environmental pollutants will affect the lifespan of your signage, especially if you live in “Zone 2” areas in the USA. These areas include: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Southern Florida. Clients and business owners in these areas should reduce outdoor durability estimates by about 20%.
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